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Have you ever heard of any one cutting a horses "stifle" so they can have more over step? My horse does not have a very fast gait. We had heavier shoes put on the back to help her have a bigger over step. Did not help much. The man who does our shoeing for us said to contact a vet and have him to cut her stifle -- it will loosen up her back legs and should make her have a better over step which should put her in a fast gait. She has a very smooth slow gait but her trot is where her fast gait should be. She has a hard time staying in a fast gait. She can gait fast but she does not stay there for more than a few seconds.

The heavy shoes throw her canter off big time. I may have to put lighter shoes back on...

Anyway, do you know anything about the stifle? It's my understanding it is a small cut on the tendon that's suppose to loosen her up..That's my understanding anyway... I am wondering, does it help? Do you have any information about this?

S. L.


While there may be some justification for surgery on the stifle to correct a partial paralysis or lameness, I wouldn't recommend it just to make a horse's gait more "perfect" least not without a strong recommendation from a veterinarian. In years past, various sorts of "nicking" were done to improve a horse's appearance or performance -- sometimes with disastrous results. I'd much rather let a horse be what it is. Remember Seabiscuit, the record-breaking racehorse? He had "mis-shaped" knees and one of his legs tended to flop to the side. He was as likely a candidate for "corrective surgery" as there ever was. And that surgery most likely would have ruined him. Going back to lighter shoes may help, and your horse may improve as she learns more about your cues -- and you get better at reading her way of going. You may find that she just needs to get in better shape in order to maintain that gait for a longer time.

So unless your vet says your horse really needs it, just let the critter be the way God made her. After all, none of us is truly "normal" -- and that's what makes each of us so interesting!

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